A Note On Emotional Stability And Mental Illness

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About a week ago I wrote a piece about my husband. I’m definitely not here to take back anything that I wrote, but I will admit that I fibbed a bit.

Aleks DOES support me, and love me, and make my life wonderful. But this morning we got into a “fight” (I rarely call our loud discussions fights- we mostly just yell out our concerns until something gets solved.) and I realized something. I do not feel 100% safe in my relationship. I don’t know how anyone feels 100% about anything, I find that nearly impossible, but this isn’t a fault on my husband’s part, or my marriage by any means.

The more I explored it on my own, the more I felt like it was something I needed to share.

My husband – and arguably a lot of other people in my life- see me as a very brave, very strong, determined, independent person. I really don’t like excuses, or lack of accountability. I feel like there is answer for everything. So when, I wake up and lay in bed crying for upwards of an hour with no real explanation to give, that is really challenging scenario for my partner.

I grew up in a house where mental illness was no doubt talked about, but not well understood. It was also an environment where things like depression, or bi-polar disorder, or even loss were used as an excuse for causing hurt. I don’t accept that. Another thing I have a hard time accepting are words like no or can’t or won’t. Just because struggle with things that some people don’t understand doesn’t mean I can’t do something or I won’t do something, or that my behavior is excusable.

That being said, I push it away. I push away my depression, and my anxiety, and anytime I “feel sad for no reason”, I hope with everything in my heart that it will just go away. I don’t want to ever hurt or impact anybody in a bad way because of something that I feel. Unfortunately, there are going to be days where I wake up and I just can’t wish or pretend it away.

I have had vivid, painful, real thoughts about hurting myself. I have been so thoroughly engulfed in sadness that I feel like I can’t stand up on my own. While I don’t see this is as a weakness on my part, I do see these sentences as things I cannot just simply say outloud.

It’s very difficult to wake up next to someone who I love and admire and respect and say: “Hi I literally feel like I want to die. I feel like my insides are crumbling apart. I feel like I want to punch something and cry and scream and I can’t stop it.”

I have nothing but admiration for people who openly talk about mental illness, and I myself have nothing to hide, but I am ashamed sometimes. I’m disappointed in myself. I’m mad at myself. I just want to feel better. I want to feel NORMAL.

I know that there is medication that exists that could take this all away, and maybe make my life easier for my friends and loved ones, but I just won’t go there…at least not yet. I don’t want to make excuses. I know that my husband, and my friends, and my mom just don’t understand. And that’s totally okay. Creating a safe space for me to hurt is not their responsibility. My vulnerability and balance is on me.

I guess I just want everyone to know, whether they have a support system or not, or whether they struggle with mental illness or not, that it’s okay to feel lost and shitty and ashamed. And that there are going to be people who love you SO much that still won’t get it. They have no idea how you feel.

It doesn’t mean I love these people any less, or think of my relationship any less. It’s going to be a challenge for us for the rest of our lives.

I guess I’d just say to those of us who are putting on a good face 90% of the time, we really need a hug and love and comfort for that other 10%- but the chances of us asking for it are almost nonexistent. Because we are scared and maybe a little ashamed.

Not really sure how to wrap this one up? 😉

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